Saudi Arabia envisages opening a border post with Iraq to ease the export of goods from the kingdom to its sanctions-hit neighbor, the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported Thursday.
Saudi authorities have examined opening the Ar'ar border post following requests by Saudi exporters with whom Iraq has placed orders under the "oil-for-food" program, the paper said.
The opening is only envisaged for the transit of goods, it said.
Saudi goods destined for Iraq currently have to go overland through Jordan and via the United Arab Emirates if being shipped, which doubles the transport costs, according to the paper.
Iraq has placed orders with Saudi firms worth more than 300 million dollars in the last 18 months.
Ar'ar post has been closed since Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. It opens once a year to allow the passage of Muslims making the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
The oil-for-food program allows Iraq, under sanctions since 1990, to export crude oil under strict UN supervision and to use the proceeds to purchase essential goods -- RIYADH (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)